Thousands of hectares of fruit and vegetables that looked set to go to waste after Israeli exporter Agrexco went into administration are coming on sale in Britain thanks to a new grower-owned company, the UK’s Fresh Produce Journal has reported.
Despite only having been running for two months, Galilee Export’s produce is on sale at London’s New Covent Garden Market, New Spitalfields Market and on the shelves of several UK retailers.
The company was quickly established in the wake of Agrexco’s much-publicised financial troubles, with executives including the former manager of Agrexco UK, Oded Yacovson, joining the company. Meetings with growers were set up and the business began shipping the produce.
Yacovson explained: “We didn’t have time to plan – the avocados and the grapefruit couldn’t wait while we decided what to do. Most of the growers left Agrexco and went to other channels, but I wanted to serve those growers that we worked with for so many years.
“It’s challenging and hectic because we’re just starting, but two months ago we had no customers – now we are a known brand.”
Yacovson, who is Galilee Export’s marketing vice president, said he is confident the firm will become the second-largest exporter in Israel and its business model will ensure a good return for producers.
“The growers took a team of 12 people – we just deduct the wages and give the rest to growers. The aim is not for us to profit, it’s to return the maximum profit to the grower. We cut out the middlemen, so if you are talking to us, you are talking `directly` to the growers,” he said.
The company has already shipped 2,000 tonnes of its 15,000 tonnes of avocados and is getting ready to ship Hass in the first weeks of December.
It has also sold around 2,500 tonnes of its 9,500 tonnes of red grapefruit, Yacovson reported.
Ex-Agrexco GM joins Galilee